Joint MBA/MA

Joint MBA/MA in East Asian Area Studies

The Marshall School of Business in conjunction with the East Asian Studies Center offers a joint MBA/MA degree that combines graduate business education with training in the cultures and societies of East Asia. Applicants for the joint MBA/MA must first apply and be accepted into the full-time Marshall School of Business MBA program. Students may apply for the MA in East Asian Area Studies during their first year of study in the MBA program. 

In addition to the course requirements for the MBA program, students must take East Asia-related coursework offered by departments and professional schools across the university, as well as write a Master's thesis or pass a comprehensive examination at the end. Students may concentrate on one country (China, Japan, or Korea) or develop region-wide expertise, and work closely with faculty advisors to design their program of study and complete the Master's thesis. There are over 80 faculty members affiliated with the East Asian Studies Center whose teaching and research interests focus on the countries of East Asia.  

Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in the joint degree program are required to complete a minimum of 72 units. All students must complete 48 units in the Marshall School of Business. Dual degree students may not count courses taken outside the Marshall School of Business toward the 48 units. In East Asian Area Studies, students have the option of taking five courses and writing a thesis (for a total of 24 units) or taking six courses and passing a comprehensive examination (for a total of 24 units).

MBA Courses

48 units of MBA coursework, including required "core" courses. Please refer to the USC Marshall School of Business

East Asian Area Studies Courses

  • EASC 592: Proseminar on Issues and Trends in Contemporary East Asia (4 units)
  • 1 of the following cultural history courses (4 units):
    >EALC 531: Chinese Cultural History
    >EALC 532: Korean Cultural History
    >EALC 533: Japanese Cultural History
    >HIST 534: Studies in Modern Japanese History
    >HIST 535: Studies in Japanese History
    >HIST 536: Studies in Chinese History
    >HIST 540: Studies in Modern East Asian History
    >HIST 560: Transpacific History

One of the following choices for additional courses, depending on the student's thesis or examination option:

  • Thesis Option:
    >3 additional courses (12 units) from the course list with the approval of the graduate advisor
    >EASC 594a: Master's Thesis (2 units)
    >EASC 594b: Master's Thesis (2 units) 
  • Comprehensive Examination:
    >4 additional courses (16 units) from the course list with the approval of the graduate advisor

    Example list of courses offered recently (not comprehensive):
>IR 534: East Asian Security Issues
>IR 551: International Political Economy
  of the Pacific Rim
>IR 561: Japanese Foreign Policy & International
  Relations of East & Southeast Asia
>IR 563: Chinese Foreign Policy
>POSC 637: Seminar in Chinese Politics
>PPD 559: China from a US Policy Perspective
>PUBD 520: Regional Studies in Public
  Diplomacy: East Asia
>CMGT 580: Chinese Media and Society
>EALC 503: Chinese Poetry
>EALC 504: Selections from Modern Chinese Lit
>EALC 507: East Asia in Cross-Cultural Theories
>EALC 509: Transnational Korean Cinema
>EALC 515: Classical Japanese Poetics
>EALC 520: Modern Japanese Writers
>EALC 530: Race, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism
  in East Asia
>EALC 535: Proseminar in Chinese Visual Culture
>EALC 545: Japanese Literary Criticism and Theory
>EALC 556: Seminar on Women and Family in China
>EALC 561: Topics & Issues in East Asian Linguistics
>LBST 505: East Asian Humanities: Classics
  of China, Korea, and Japan
>REL 599: Readings in Japanese Buddhism:
  Setsuwa and Miracle Literature
>REL 599: Religion and Politics in East Asia
>AHIS 518: Seminar in Chinese Art
>AHIS 519: Seminar in Japanese Art

Check the USC Graduate School website for thesis submission guidelines and deadlines.

Equivalent of 3 years of Chinese/Japanese/Korean language proficiency, either through coursework or placement test.

Total: 48 units (MBA) + 24 units (MA) + language 

Application Requirements

Applicants must first apply to the full-time Marshall School of Business MBA program. Please refer to their website for the admission requirements and procedure.

A separate online application to the MA program in East Asian Area Studies should be submitted during the first year of the MBA program. Applications are accepted for fall semester only. USC Graduate Admissions offers a web-based application in order to make the application process as easy and convenient as possible. Timely submission of required supporting documents by the application deadline of January 10, 2014 for academic year 2014-2015 is necessary for your application to be considered complete. Once you create your account, you will receive a USC PIN and password so that you may return to work on your application over several sessions. Only after you submit your application will it be available for review by our Admissions Committee.

Completed MA Application: Please complete and submit the application to the MA program in East Asian Area Studies. Access the online application here: 
Application Fee Waived for USC students. Please see more information on the USC Graduate Admissions FAQ.
Official Transcripts It is not necessary to resend your official transcripts from your previous institution(s). 
Official GRE or GMAT Scores It is not necessary to resend your official test scores. Both the GRE and GMAT are acceptable. The minimum GRE score for consideration is 153 Verbal/144 Quantitative. The minimum total GMAT score for consideration is 430. If you would like to send updated GRE scores, please use the ETS institution code for USC: 4852.
Statement of Purpose: Describe your reasons for applying to the Joint MBA/M.A. program in East Asian Area Studies in 2-3 pages. 
Three Letters of Recommendation: Your letters should come from those who could best address your ability to successfully undertake graduate level work. These individuals may include professional colleagues, business superiors, or past faculty. Letters of recommendation from co-workers, someone you have supervised, or personal and family friends are inappropriate. 

To reuse letters of recommendation from your MBA program application, please request to have PDF copies of the letters emailed to EASC by MBA admissions or your MBA advisor. Please note that the MBA application currently requires fewer letters of recommendation than the MA application, so you may need to request additional letters. The online application allows you to email your recommenders and request that they send their recommendations through email or mail them as hard copies. If you receive hard copies of your recommendations, you may scan and upload them in your online application in the “Supporting Documents” section or send them to the USC Graduate Admissions address below. 
International Applicants Only: 
  • It is not necessary to resubmit TOEFL or IELTS scores. If you would like to send updated TOEFL scores, please use the ETS institution code for USC: 4852. You can send your official IELTS scores by choosing USC from the list of available institutions. 
  • If you were required to take the International Student English (ISE) exam and passed, it will not be necessary to retake the exam. 
  • It is not necessary to resubmit a statement of financial support. 
Writing Sample:  Optional and can be uploaded in your online application in the "Supporting Documents" section. 

Program Costs

For academic year 2013-2014, USC tuition is $1576 per unit for graduate business courses and $1536 per unit for most other courses. Therefore, the tuition cost to complete the 48-unit MBA degree portion is approximately $75,648 and the 24-unit MA degree portion is approximately $36,864 plus additional fees. Visit the USC Financial Aid Office website for more details.

USC/UCLA Cross-Enrollment

As a part of a cooperative program between USC and UCLA, graduate students may be eligible to take courses at the other school as part of their degree program. Please see the USC/UCLA Resource Sharing Program Cross-Enrollment Procedures for USC Students.




The application deadline was JANUARY 9, 2015 for fall 2015 admission consideration.

Past Events

EASC Grad Forum 1: Every Talk is a Jobtalk
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall 2014 EASC Graduate Mixer
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spring 2014 Graduate Student Mixer
Thursday, April 17, 2014

EASC Grad Forum: Every Talk is a Jobtalk
Wednesday, April 9, 2014


How long does it take to complete the program? 
Students enrolled full-time typically finish the program in 3 years.

Can I apply for spring semester admission?
No. We only accept and review applications for fall semester admission.

Can you mail me program material or a paper application?
No. All applications must be submitted online through USC Graduate Admissions.

What is the TOEFL exemption policy for international students?
The TOEFL exam can be waived for international students under either of two conditions: 1) If the applicant's native language is English (e.g. students from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, excluding Quebec); or 2) If the applicant has received his/her bachelor's degree from a college or university in a country where English is the main, official language, such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., etc.

Dual degree programs do not qualify; the bachelor's degree must be from a full 4- or 3- (if in the U.K.) year program. Countries where English are one of several main languages do not qualify, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. High school degrees and graduate degrees do not qualify.

How many international students are admitted to the program each year?
We do not have a set number for international students we admit to our program each year. Decisions on admission are solely based on the competitiveness of the applicant regardless of whether the student is domestic or international.

  • East Asian Studies Center
  • 3454 Trousdale Parkway
  • College Administrative Services Building (CAS) 100
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0154